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More filmmakers who are helping out Scientology with its TV network

[Oh, Emma, say it isn’t so.]

In January, we talked to J.R. Biersmith, one of the filmmakers who had agreed to allow the Church of Scientology to show their movies on the “Documentary Showcase” at the Scientology TV network on DirecTV.

Biersmith’s 2017 film, Men in the Arena, about Somalian soccer players, was quite good. But we asked him why he would want to help out Scientology TV by letting it show the movie. “When it comes to documentaries, getting your story out there is not easy. And when you have a new cable station coming on, you have to give it a thought,” he told us.

He said he was aware of Scientology’s controversies, but getting the word out about Somalia’s struggles was more important to him. Like most of the other filmmakers, he had not only let Scientology show his film to help out its young TV channel, but had also sat down for an interview at the Scientology Media Productions studios on Sunset Boulevard.

Our story spotlighted the baker’s dozen of films and their directors who were featured.

And now, a new set of filmmakers has joined their ranks. Most of them, like the last group, sat for interviews.


We know that getting a documentary seen can be tough, but we just wanted to put on the record who were the folks helping out Scientology, for, you know, future prosecutions — er, posterity. That’s it, posterity.


Unbranded (2015)
Director: Phillip Baribeau
IMDB: “Sixteen mustangs, four men, one dream: to ride border to border, Mexico to Canada, up the spine of the American West. The documentary tracks four fresh-out-of-college buddies as they take on wild mustangs to be their trusted mounts, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime.”


Mully (2015)
Executive Producer: Paul Blavin
Director: Scott Haze
IMDB: “A homeless orphan in Kenya becomes a lucrative businessman, only to give it all up and open an orphanage that today serves over 2000 Kenyan children.”



Stand (2013)
Director: Anthony Bonello
IMDB: “Under threat by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker route is a coastline [in British Columbia], and a way of life rich in culture and history. Through the efforts of expedition stand-up paddler Norm Hann, an aboriginal high school class building their own stand-up paddleboards as a form of protest, and the powerful surfing of iconic west coast native Raph Bruhwiler, the diversity of people, landscape and wildlife that would be affected by an oil spill is articulated.”


Children of the Light (2014)
Director: Dawn Gifford Engle
IMDB: “A documentary on the life story of Desmond Tutu and his journey during the crucial years of anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.”

[This is Dawn’s second entry. She was also part of the first group of filmmakers.]

Gottfried Helnwein and the Dreaming Child (2011)
Director: Lisa Kirk Colburn
IMDB: “World famous Austrian artist, Gottfried Helnwein, takes on the contentious role of Production Designer for a never before seen opera in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2010.”


[Lisa is also making a second appearance, and the subject of the film, Helnwein, is a longtime wealthy Scientologist.]


To the Ends of the Earth (2016)
Director: David Lavallée
Narrator: Emma Thompson
IMDB: “Emma Thompson narrates this environmental documentary about the rise of extreme energy, the end of economic growth and the people caught in the middle.”

[Yes, that Emma Thompson.]


Fallen (2017)
Director: Thomas Marchese
IMDB: “A humanizing look at line-of-duty police deaths across the country, and how these losses effect those close to the fallen, as well as the communities they serve.”



Right Footed (2015)
Director: Nick Spark
IMDB: “Jessica Cox was born without arms as a result of a birth defect, but managed to overcome many physical and emotional challenges to become fully independent. She learned to type with her toes, drive a car with her feet, and amazingly — fly an airplane with her feet.”


Breaking Through the Clouds (2010)
Director: Heather Taylor
IMDB: “Amelia Earhart and 19 other women defied convention by racing across the sky in 1929 to compete in the first women’s national air derby. With just a compass and road map to guide them, they navigated through rough weather, mechanical failures, public scrutiny and rumors of sabotage.”

[Four other films did not feature interviews with the filmmakers…]


Big Sonia (2016)
Directors: Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday

IMDB: “In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski – great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor – runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide.”


Arabia (2011)
Director: Greg MacGillivray
IMDB: “Discover a land as exotic as it is extraordinary. Arabia 3D offers an in-depth understanding of one of the most fascinating lifestyles and cultures.”


Dogs on the Inside (2014)
Directors: Brean Cunningham and Douglas Seirup
IMDB: “Filmed in a Massachusetts prison, DOGS ON THE INSIDE follows the birth of a relationship between abandoned rescue dogs and prison inmates as they work together toward a second chance at a better life.”


Road to Peace (2012)
Director: Leon Stuparich
IMDB: “In a world dominated by violence, how can we create peace in our lives? This award-winning film goes on an extraordinary journey with the Dalai Lama, demonstrating how anyone can create change and transform the world in which we live.”


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Levitation is possible. Like making the body float. I imagine with lots of spiritual practice you can do it, i remember some Scientologists could do it back in the 50s. Apparently when someone is possesed by a demon they can start speaking a foreign language they never learnt and suddenly can levitate. The Exorcist movie is literally based on true stories. Preists who do exorcisms know about this. This is all true, people really dont know whats actually possible”


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Another life connected to Scientology ends in despair, as so many do
[TWO years ago] Forced to open its books, one overseas Scientology rehab shows that business is grim
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s secret sites: The Bunker premieres drone footage never before seen of ‘Int Base’
[FOUR years ago] TEN YEARS GONE: Shelly Miscavige, the wife Scientology’s leader wants us to forget
[FIVE years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology is going down in style!
[SIX years ago] Scientology Heresy: Jon Atack on L. Ron Hubbard’s Debt to Psychiatry
[EIGHT years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 11: Nick Xenophon


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,561 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,690 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,194 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,714 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 734 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 625 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,932 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,800 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,574 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,348 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,694 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,260 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,179 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,347 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,928 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,189 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,228 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,940 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,466 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 992 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,555 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,695 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,015 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,871 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,990 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,345 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,648 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,754 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,156 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,028 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,611 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,106 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,360 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,469 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 7, 2019 at 07:00

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Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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